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The Strange Things Boutique




DVD region 2. Optimum.

And Soon the DarknessWhile some remakes immediately cause a furious reaction amongst the more blockheaded division of horror fandom (with pointless petitions and death threats from bedroom warriors), others slip by unnoticed – the only question raised by their existence being “why?”. So it is with And Soon the Darkness, a rather unlikely retread of a film that only has name recognition to a relatively small band of Brit horror enthusiasts.

This new version starts out as a reasonable facsimile of the original film before heading off into its own direction, and so you have to wonder what the point of the remake – which presumably involves additional expenditure in terms of story rights – is, when with a few tweaks, this would probably pass as a completely original work.

Amber Heard and Odette Yustman are Stephanie and Ellie, two American tourists on a cycling holiday in Argentina, who find themselves cut off from the rest of their tour after going their own way and missing the only bus of the day back. Stuck in a small village, they visit the local sights and bicker with each other until Stephanie storms off. Both realising that this is not such a good idea, they text each other and agree to meet at a local café, but Ellie fails to show up. A fellow American, Michael (Karl Urban), conveniently shows up to help Stephanie search for her friend, while the local policeman seems unconcerned and the villagers distinctly unfriendly.

All this is close enough to the original film, albeit with a Hollywood gloss and a distinct Hostel feel to the opening scenes, where dumb American tourists blindly ignore the dangers around them. Ironically though, the Argentinean setting seems less bleak and sinister than the French countryside of the original, and the two girls less convincing as real people than Michele Dotrice and Pamela Franklin were.

And Soon the Darkness But while the original film plays with the idea of who can be trusted until the end, this remake tries to have ambiguous characters who may or may not be trustworthy, while also revealing who the kidnapper is right away. It’s not something that will be an issue if you haven’t seen the 1970 version, but for those of us who have, it’s a major problem.

Thankfully, the film goes off in its own direction for the final half hour, and although the shocks on offer are hardly original, it does develop a story that works well. There’s an impressive moment of moral ambiguity with Urban’s character, and while the twists are generally unsurprising to anyone who has ever seen a horror film, the movie does manage to build a certain tension.
Compared to the original film, this is inferior stuff for sure (if you haven't seen it, seek it out now!); but looked at as a stand-alone thriller, it’s a wholly watchable and entertaining effort.






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